It was 4:30am as 48 year old Amy Driscoll shot out of bed to drive herself to the emergency room. Her heart was racing like nothing she’d ever felt before. Earlier that day, she had joked with a colleague that she was feeling lethargic and was catching a fever, and joked that she had caught COVID-19.
COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, is a pandemic whose narrative is undoubtedly shaped by social media, online gossip, and competing news sources. Twitter and Instagram run rampant with memes and posts about it, news cycles are constantly covering new developments, and it can be hard to sort through all of the information that is being thrown at us.
The conflict in conversation between the older and younger generation is undeniable; the safety of our older generation relies on the actions of the younger. This has brought about considerable conversation surrounding the “realness” of the pandemic, as news outlets criticize Gen Z for “partying and ignoring warnings” whilst other groups proactively began to self isolate and social distance. The younger generation is criticized for feeling indestructible, as news sources cited that many young people were still out and about prior to this weekend, not recognizing the severe importance of social distancing.
Amy Driscoll is a healthy, able bodied 48 year old woman from Ohio. She has no underlying health conditions and was not the “vulnerable” body that news outlets tend to focus on. At the hospital, Amy was treated for a headache and received antibiotics in case it had been a bacterial infection. She was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Friday and was told to quarantine. She took to Facebook to express her experience with COVID-19.
I am the face of this infection. It is brutal and I’m a healthy 48 year old with no underlying conditions. I’m not 100% better but I’m home resting. Please take this seriously. People you love, their lives may depend on it.
Upon posting, Driscoll became increasingly frustrated with the feedback she was receiving, feeling invalidated from her online peers about the severity of her experience. In response to those questioning the reality of the illness, she wrote:
“For all the non believers and those who are not taking this seriously, if you need [to] KNOW someone who has been diagnosed with the COVID-19, well if you are reading this you know me,”
Amy’s story and its response is just one example of the added layer of conflict that social media has brought to this pandemic. No matter who we are and where we are, we are each able to play a small part in ending this pandemic as quickly as possible. Social distancing and self quarantining do not have to be completely negative.
Online challenges are popping up left and right, businesses are putting in every effort to go online, and employers are (hopefully) increasingly accommodating to these unprecedented times. In looking to the future, we can all benefit by recognizing the severity of this illness and doing our small part in bringing about its demise. Amy could be any of us.
Sadly stories like this are becoming too common, here is another story of a man suffering from his symptoms as well:
“For all those who have asked the question “Does anyone even know anybody that has gotten the coronavirus?”, if you know me, you do now. ”